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The Truth About Music On Websites

web design by Shannon Noack on July 13, 2012 | 3 Comments

Many people want music on their websites, we’ve had it requested quite a few times actually. Music adds a nice atmosphere to movies and life in general, giving it personality, drama, or serenity. However, music on a website isn’t always a good idea and can lead to more trouble than it’s worth. There are copyright concerns, user annoyance concerns, differences in taste, etc.

We’ll discuss the truth about it all in our article today, and hopefully give you a better idea of all the issues involved with it. Then you can decide whether or not it’s best for your website.

Royalty Issues

The biggest concern of all, is that most music that you would want on your site isn’t free to use, it’s copyrighted, and you can’t legally use it without getting the artist’s or label’s permission. Getting that permission is also going to be tricky to obtain. You’ll find tons of sites out there that do use popular songs on the radio today, and they are likely violating the law and are liable for it. You don’t want your company’s website to be in that position, so it’s best to avoid copyrighted music.

There is however, music available that is royalty-free and available for you to use. If you’re looking to add some ambiance with an instrument-only song, this could work out well for you, because you won’t find any popular songs available that are royalty-free. Or, if you’re a song writer and have all the royalties to your music, you’re certainly free to use that.

User Issues

Another large concern is that most users don’t actually like music or any kind of sound on a website unless they are expecting it. Personally, I mute any kind of sound from a site, and find it a huge disturbance, and I know I’m not alone. Many users will leave a site completely that has music or will spend less time there because they just want to avoid it. You don’t want that for your site either. Let the content and site itself be the reason they stay or don’t stay, not the music that you had hoped would keep them there. If you do decide to have music on your site, think about not having it autoplay or include an easy mute option for users that don’t care for it.

People also have very different tastes in music (interesting article on age group and gender preferences). I love country music but I know not everyone shares this taste, so it always surprises me when I hear something so taste-specific on a company’s site that isn’t necessarily in their company’s genre. If your store is country and it fits your brand, then that’s different than just choosing something you like. You have to think about how your target audience will feel about it and if it’ll help the site or potentially hurt it.

Music is generally not a great decision for most websites (another great article with many good points about music on websites), unless the company itself has something to do with music. Think about how to avoid royalty issues, how to best satisfy and target your users, and what fits your company’s brand. Then make the decision that works for you.

What are your thoughts about music on websites, love it or hate it? Share in the comments below!


  1. Julia Agnes
    July 31, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    As for me, I don’t like music on websites… it is quite annoying )

  2. Shannon
    August 1, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    I agree Julia, I’m not a fan! I’ve heard many others say the same as well.

  3. Paul
    August 9, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    Music on a website is a BIG no no, to me! Like you Shannon, I always turn it off!

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